The Data Behind Arrowhead Real Estate Trends

Spiking prices. An exodus to more rural areas. Houses only staying on the market for a few days and buyers paying well above asking prices.  

Since the start of the pandemic, rumors of extreme real estate trends have been flying in the Northland. But what do the numbers say?  

In July, we surveyed realtors to get a sense for real estate trends on the East Range—who’s buying, what’s selling, and how is the picture changing, if at all? Among other insights, the survey responses indicated:  

  • Home purchases are being led by new residents moving to the area 
  • Single family housing is in demand along with vacation properties (people purchasing cabins or second homes) with lakefront properties showing the most demand 
  • Broadband internet (or lack thereof) is among dealbreakers for buyers 

We also pulled data for the whole Iron Range area to get a broader sense of the market. A look at the latest census data finds that between 2010 and 2019/2020, populations of Iron Range communities have held approximately steady. Meanwhile, housing occupancy of vacant non-vacation units has grown by 168%, among other shifts in the real estate market. 

Additionally, between 2020 and 2021 alone:  

  • Median sales price has gone up by 15%, jumping from $177,000 to $203,250. 
  • Median sales price of waterfront properties have gone up by 38.7% compared to non-waterfront properties which have gone up by 19.9%. 

arrowhead real estate data mn

On September 16, through our work with the East Range Joint Powers Board (ERJPB), we held a housing workshop in Biwabik, where we looked at how the data backs up trends that we’ve been hearing anecdotally:  

“We saw prices spiking in a way we’ve never seen before. A lot of people are poking around on the East Range for cabins and second homes,” shares Northspan Research Director & Senior Consultant Karl Schuettler. “Across the board, the price of housing is going up and units are not staying on the market very long.”  

The September workshop brought together a local association of realtors and led to contacts with developers. With the ERJPB, the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, and a potential housing developer, we launched a community survey in November 2021 to assess the needs of current and future housing on the East Range.  

The survey results showed a housing market and demand for many different types of units—from single family homes and condominiums to assisted living, apartments for rent, and more.  

“This demand is present at all income levels and across a range of other categories,” adds Karl. “It helps build a more comprehensive case for why we need more housing stock. These numbers help ground the conversation as we map out different types of housing projects in our communities.”  

We’re now in the process of identifying properties for potential developments on the East Range. For more information about these efforts and housing trends throughout the Arrowhead region, don’t hesitate to reach out!